July 20, 2019

Hernia Mesh Lawsuits and Their Verdicts: 6 Pending

Hernia mesh lawyers filed thousands of cases due to serious complications resulting from alleged faulty mesh products used for hernia repair surgeries. Previous lawsuits, starting in 2005, and finally resolved in 2011, resulted in a $1.5 million verdict and a $184 million settlement for over three thousand cases.

Plaintiffs file new lawsuits are daily, many of them combined into MDL’s and are in various stages of litigation. They blame several manufacturers, namely Ethicon, Atrium Medical, Bard Davol and several others for these alleged defective or in some cases counterfeit products. These are complicated cases, and it is advisable to call a hernia mesh lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Assocaites, P.C. to evaluate your case and provide advice.

What is a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit?

A patient with serious complications post hernia repair surgery, will file a product liability case through a hernia mesh lawyer at our law firm against the manufacturer of their hernia mesh product. They allege the product was faulty by design or manufacture or that the company failed to warn them adequately of potentially serious complications.

Filing a claim gives you an opportunity to get fair and just compensation for losses, but it is a lengthy process with many steps involved that are best handled by a personal injury lawyer like registered nurse and trial lawyer, Eileen Kroll at our law firm.

These types of cases can be expensive to litigate, but at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we work on a contingency basis. We never charge a fee unless we win your case.

Hernia Mesh Firms

Several hernia mesh manufacturers are involved in these cases, most notably:

  • Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson Company);
  • Atrium Medical
  • Bard (Bard Davol)
  • Gore
  • Covidien / Medtronic

Injuries in Hernia Mesh Cases

The following are the most serious injuries in these cases:

  • Wrongful death
  • Infections
  • Organ damage and perforations
  • Autoimmune problems
  • Adhesions
  • Fistulas
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Repeat surgeries

Top Settlement

The top settlement was that of CR Bard Inc’s $184 million MDL settlement; after a $1.5 million verdict for a case.

MDL’s for Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

Several MDL’s for Hernia Mesh Suits are currently on the register, and some have been heard after thousands of plaintiffs filed personal injury claims against several companies.

You may wonder if you should join a class action or an MDL or try your luck going on your own. You should file a claim if you have been injured and do so sooner than later as the statute of limitations may run out.

There are thousands of pending lawsuits from patients alleging defective products from many manufacturers caused their injuries, and that these defects caused injuries that vary from pain, chronic and intense pain to life-threatening punctures, obstructions, fistulas, and infections.

A few of these are combined into class-action lawsuits, and others have been combined into hernia mesh MDL’s, depending on a variety of factors, namely:

  • The Mesh manufacturer
  • The particular mesh product (type) and
  • The injuries you suffered

What is an MDL?

An MDL (Multi-district litigation) is formed by a federal judge and panel when civil cases have common issues against the same defendant and can thus be consolidated. It is a good way to make litigation more efficient and to expedite the settlement processes.

All the plaintiffs’ lawsuits are transferred to a single court for pre-trial proceedings such as discovery. The assigned court and judge rules on all pre-trial proceedings, and once these have concluded, your individual case will be transferred back to the appropriate court. You get to keep your attorney throughout the whole process.

If there is an MDL relevant to your case, it will be moved to the appointed MDL court and judge, and you do not get to choose where it is to be heard.

In lawsuits regarding defective medical devices, where there could be thousands of individual cases of injured plaintiffs, the MDL is becoming more common. In a hernia mesh MDL, a federal judge consolidates all similar hernia mesh lawsuits in all the states in the U.S. against a particular hernia mesh manufacturer.

The MDL’s purpose is to streamline the pretrial process, which most likely includes:

  • Trial discovery (gathering evidence)
  • Motions from the defendant to dismiss the case
  • Motions for summary judgment (where the defendant asks the judge to decide the case in the defendant’s favor without a trial)
  • Motions from the defendant or plaintiffs to suppress (disregard) certain damaging evidence
  • Depositions (witnesses’ oral testimony under oath)
  • Interrogatories (witnesses’ written testimony under oath)
  • And hopefully negotiating a settlement to avoid trial

The appointed MDL judge’s decisions will apply to all plaintiffs in the MDL (rather than each being heard separately in different courts by different judges).

After the pretrial, the MDL judge will allow a few individual cases to go to full trial, the so-called bellwether trials.

Depending on the outcome of the bellwether trials, which largely determines the outcome in all of the cases, the defendant may be more willing to negotiate and offer a generous settlement to the remaining plaintiffs, if the plaintiffs win some or all of the bellwether trials.

Sometimes you do not get to choose where your lawsuit will be heard. If there is multi-district litigation (MDL) relevant to your case, your case will automatically be moved — and that is what has happened to many victims suing Atrium, Bard, and Ethicon.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class-action lawsuit is about a group of people who have suffered similar injuries due to similar circumstances and are suing the same defendant that they allege are responsible for those injuries.

A class-action lawsuit involves a group of people who have suffered the same or similar injuries and have come together to sue a common defendant they hold responsible for those injuries.

Class actions follow complicated processes and must be certified as a class by a judge based on certain criteria:

  • Same defendant
  • Similar injuries
  • High numbers of plaintiffs, too many for the court to hear individually
  • Class representatives can protect the interests of the whole class

It is basically a single case, with many members in the class, and has one outcome for all.

Because there are thousands of cases throughout the country, it seems hernia mesh class action lawsuits would be logical. There are, however, no class-action lawsuits in the U.S., but there are in Canada.

The reasons for this include many products involved, more than one defendant, and injuries that vary dramatically from one case to another.

MDL vs. Class-actions

MDLs may sound a lot like a class-action lawsuit, but there are distinct differences:

  • A judge must certify a group of plaintiffs as a class; this is not the case in MDLs
  • Plaintiffs are allowed to opt-out of a class, MDLs are normally mandatory
  • Class actions last throughout the entire trial, for MDLs, it is only a group for the pretrial phase, after that they return to their individual courts if there is no settlement.

Hernia Mesh SETTLED Cases

CR Bard MDL # 1842 Pays $184 Million to Resolve Earlier Lawsuits

CR Bard Inc first recalled their Bard Davol’s Kugel Patch in 2005 as it could cause fistulas and bowel perforations. The first suits soon followed the recall.

The Bard Davol Kugel implant was designed in the early nineties to repair hernias, and by 2002 the first serious complications were reported. The company allegedly did not report it for three years as it was thought to be ‘too few cases to raise the alarm’ and they maintained that they acted responsibly. However, FDA inspections showed inconsistencies and discrepancies in the way they tracked device failure reports and that reports did not accurately state the severity and possible complications of the injuries.

The FDA requires device manufacturers to have systems in place to track device failure notifications, to produce reports for the FDA on these instances and to warn doctors of the potential problems. The manufacturers are expected to voluntarily recall the device if serious injuries are found, and in most cases, they do as it is rare for the FDA to force a recall.

The Kugel implant had a plastic ring on the mesh, that often due to a design defect would break off in the patient’s body. The broken ring often caused bowel obstruction and in severe case perforation of the bowel. It requires emergency surgery to repair and are extremely dangerous, painful, and uncomfortable conditions.

CR Bard was soon facing 150 individual lawsuits from patients alleging injuries due to their faulty Kugel patch. A federal panel consolidated the cases into an MDL in the Rhode Island federal court in 2007. The number of cases would soon rise to about three thousand.

The court heard two bellwether cases in 2010 – Bard won the first but lost the second. In the second, Thorpe v C.R. Bard Inc, the plaintiff suffered some of the most severe injuries reported as associated with the defective Kugel implant.

In this second trial, the jury heard the case of Christopher and Laura Thorpe from North Carolina. Mr. Thorpe had the Kugel patch implanted during a hernia repair in 2005. The broken mesh ring punctured Mr. Thorpe’s bowel and obstructed it, resulting in fistulas and infection. He had to undergo five surgeries to correct the problems caused by the faulty mesh device between 2007 and 2008.

A federal jury in Rhode Island awarded Mr. Thorpe $1.5 million in damages in August 2010.

Based on the outcome in Thorpe, C.R. Bard offered to pay $184 million to a global settlement of the 2600 pending Kugel cases in 2011.

After ten years of litigation, the Kugel Patch MDL in Rhode Island was finally closed in September 2017.

The product has been discontinued, and CR Bard Inc updated their device malfunction reporting systems.

Bard settles Hernia Mesh class-action in Canada

In 2014, Bard settled a class-action lawsuit due to injuries sustained from its Composix Kugel hernia mesh patch, for $1.375 million.

CURRENT Hernia Mesh Cases

There are over a million hernia mesh repairs a year in which thousands were injured. Common causes of action are negligence and products liability.

At present, the product liability litigation against C.R. Bard is mostly over, but the mass tort litigation against other manufacturers are just getting started, with multiple MDLs including over six thousand cases against three manufacturers, and thousands of other cases not in MDLs.

One MDL involves Atrium Medical, a second targets Ethicon and the third against Bard Davol for different versions of their polypropylene products.

The plaintiffs may be able to recover significant settlements or monetary damages if these MDLs are successful.

1. Atrium, MDL #2753

Atrium Medical is a major hernia mesh manufacturer but the premier line of mesh products, C-Qur, has had many problems and defects.

Plaintiffs allege that the Omega 3 from fish oil that was added to prevent the polypropylene from sticking created more problems, including serious complications such as infection and allergic reactions. Besides, it did not prevent the mesh from sticking to unwanted surfaces such as muscle, organs, and tissue. Also, despite it being marketed as sterile, hair was found on it, and medical professionals were not provided with specific warnings.

The judicial panel formed an MDL in December 2016 in the New Hampshire District Court, and as of July 2019, there are 1452 lawsuits pending in this MDL.

The first bellwether trial is set for February 19, 2020.

2. Ethicon, MDL #2782

Ethicon is a division of one of the largest manufacturing companies, Johnson & Johnson. Its hernia mesh devices, in particular, the most popular Physiomesh are particularly prone to failure.

Plaintiffs are suing for failing to warn doctors, and defective design, as the five-layer product precludes it from incorporating any of the patient’s tissue, which leads to recurrences, inadequate repair, adhesions, infections, bowel obstruction, sepsis, and even death. There are five defects listed for the product.

The Prolene mesh plug made from heavy polypropylene has been blamed for severe and chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, and nerve damage.

On June 2, 2017, the federal court system created an MDL for Physiomesh in the Northern District of Georgia. There are currently 2,237 lawsuits for Physiomesh Flexible Composite.

3. Bard and Davol, MDL #2846

Bard and its subsidiary, Bard Davol, manufacture a large portion of all mesh implants but do not follow product lines. The faulty design has allegedly led to chronic pain, bowel or organ perforations, fistulae, adhesions, seromas, obstructions, migrations, and losing a testicle, to name but a few.

In August 2018 a new MDL regarding Bard Davol Hernia Mesh, polypropylene hernia mesh products, was formed in the Southern District of Ohio or the Western District of Mississippi.

By July 2019, pending lawsuits tallied to 2,479 over 19 different brands of Bard Davol’s polypropylene products and as it in its earliest stages, no trial dates have been set.

4. Ethicon Physiomesh Multi-county Litigation

The New Jersey Supreme Court consolidated 62 Physiomesh lawsuits into multi-county litigation in Atlantic County in August 2018.

5. Gore

The FDA first approved Gore’s hernia mesh products, made from Gore-Tex, in 1995. Many of these implants led to infections. However, there are not enough lawsuits against them to warrant an MDL. Thus litigation is filed on an individual basis and will proceed as such.

6. Covidien / Medtronic

The FDA approved the first Covidien hernia mesh product in 1999, and the Parietex (Composite Mesh, Surgical Mesh, ProGrip Mesh) and Parietene lines became very popular.

Hundreds of patients have filed against them for injuries on an individual basis.

Contact Us

If you had a hernia repair and live in Michigan, and you have suffered injury, call Eileen Kroll, a nurse and Personal Injury trial attorney, at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. for a no obligation case evaluation at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-6261).

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country’s capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia. Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.

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